WEST MEMPHIS, Ark. — A 21-year-old mother is charged with second-degree battery after police say she was caught on camera slapping her 1-year-old son with such force that he fell to the floor.
Alazai Gardner was arrested Saturday night, hours after the video began circulating on social media. Police say it was recorded earlier that day.
In the video, Gardner can be heard telling the person who's recording it, “I don’t give a damn about you recording," as she slaps her son to the ground and he cries. "You can record that, too. I don’t give a (expletive) about you recording," she said.
The video has sparked outrage online, and the people we showed it to said it disgusted them.
“God she slapped that baby to the floor. My god," said Georgia Love.
Love, who lives in the apartment complex where the video was apparently shot, tells WREG she had heard about it, but hadn’t watched it.
When we played it for her, she struggled to fight back tears.
“When I seen that, it just make a different reaction to it. And I pray for the baby," she said. “She need to be where she’s at. That’s the worst thing you could do a child, an elder or anyone.”
Police are crediting the public with bringing the video to their attention and helping them track Gardner down.
We’re told the video was recorded at the Imperial Homes Apartments on East Jackson Avenue, but it's unclear if that's where Gardner lives.
One woman we spoke to didn’t want to be identified, but said she went to high school with Gardner and has a daughter the same age.
“She need to be in jail. She need that. She need to be punished," she said. “You don’t do no child like that.”
CAUGHT ON CAMERA: This is the video that put Gardner in jail. It began making the rounds on Facebook yesterday afternoon, and by last night, she had been arrested.
— Nina Harrelson 🎥 (@NinaHarrelsonTV) February 10, 2019
We asked Assistant Police Chief Robert Langston why Gardner isn’t charged with child abuse, and he said, "battery is the appropriate charge."
Police also tell us Gardner is pregnant.
“Whoever has that baby and is taking care of and protecting that baby, they need to make sure they have this baby, too," Love said. "Because just as sure as she did that to that child, she will do it to this one.”
Gardner’s mother, Cleo Gardner, called WREG asking how we could help the family, but when we asked for an interview to get their side of the story, she got upset and hung up.
Investigators say the child is safe and will be placed in the custody of the Arkansas Department of Human Services.
We reached out to DHS Saturday to see if they already have the boy, and whether they’ve responded to complaints about Gardner in the past, but haven't heard back.
Gardner is in the Crittenden County Jail. She was given a $35,000 bond and scheduled to be back in court in March.